Gosh, your paintings are very nice…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s adjectives are: sodden, capreolate, hortative, supine, sessile, and fluffy.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, you are a youngish artist – you do artwork of some kind, things that people seem to like, and they say to you, ‘These are super! Gosh, aren’t you clever?…’ You might even sell a few of them, whatever they are. This is good, you are doing what artists are supposed to do. Isn’t it great?…
‘S’pose…’
Look out! Look out! There’s danger ahead!…
‘What danger?’ I hear you ask, as I watch your young brows furrow slightly. The danger is that you will continue doing these reasonably pleasing pieces of work, and end up doing them… for the rest of your life!…
‘Is that bad?’
Oh, I think so… Being an artist, of whatever kind, isn’t about producing nice things for people…
‘Isn’t it?…’
No, it’s about observing and thinking; observing the world you inhabit, getting a bit of perspective…
‘Perspective?’
Yes, both kinds, and doing some serious thinking about this great big thing around us that we laughingly call ‘reality’…
‘Really?’
Hm, these observations should carry on for a lifetime, they are the things that fuel creativity and art in general. I know of people who in their teens and twenties discovered their form of creativity and stuck with it doggedly for the rest of their lives. I suppose they must have got better at it, whatever it was – You couldn’t actually get worse, could you?
Once they’d found that they were making a small living from it, they were terrified of stopping, or starting something new. There’s nothing like sudden money to put a damper on creativity though; it’s like the author’s ‘second novel’ after the blockbuster, or the bright new band’s ‘bad second and third album’ syndrome. Where was I…?
‘I don’t know.’
You could be lying in bed one morning and have an idle thought that might go like this: these paintings of mine do seem very popular, and they are quite easy to paint… but hey, why don’t I make a short film about feathers and put it on YouTube, or learn to play the zither, learn to make some crazy shaped ceramic pots, make a giant bubble-wrap wind-blown sculpture, write at least one poem every day, take a series of photographs of girls wearing black plastic moustaches, learn to do silver point, start whittling, make a large portrait of Elvis Presley out of collected toe and fingernail clippings, juggle hammers and spanners on the steps of Tate Brtitain, construct a giant bust of Rupert Murdoch from rusty tin cans?…
Or, you might then think, I really should knock off a couple of my paintings this week, there are the gas and electric bills due…
‘Hey, hang on!... Who do you think you are, pontificating about being an artist? You’re not famous… or even well-known locally…’
Yes, but I do have my integrity…
‘Hm…’

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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4 Responses to Gosh, your paintings are very nice…

  1. Interesting…..and very true. Also, something else I have noticed (especially online) is that a lot of people who take art class workshops, end up inevitably copying the instructors style, without then going on to develop their own. They think they have nailed this painting lark, and that’s it. So! what else do YOU do? hehe 😀

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Well said!
      It reminds me of an old Monty Python sketch – “How to play the flute – well, you blow down one end and move your fingers up and down the outside…”

      • Haha! 😀 Oh, and have you heard of/read surrealist poetry? I just discovered this is a *thing* and some is quite fascinating…..

      • Dave Whatt says:

        I think I might have seen some at some time – it seemed to be full of yelps, squeals, and shouts.
        I recall a story told by George Melly that he once frightened off some muggers by reciting one at them… Ho ho!…

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